Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Fertile Crescent

Article excerpt

Assad: Reconvene Arab Summit

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad toured Arab countries in early April to push for the reconvening of the Arab summit, postponed the previous month by host Tunisia over disagreements on democratic reforms called for by Washington, the Khaleej Times reported April 7. According to the article, Tunisia said it postponed the summit because of "differences between Arab states over dealing with the U.S.-backed Greater Middle East Initiative, a reform plan that has been met with strong opposition from Middle Eastern leaders." Syria reportedly opposed the summit because it would have focused on regional reforms, rather than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. reform plan for the region, which had not yet been officially released, urges Arab states to promote democracy, human rights and women's rights. It also encourages revitalizing educational systems and economic liberalization. Assad met on April 3 with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who also has called on Arab leaders to revive the summit. …

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